PH seeks observer status in WTO’s government procurement committee

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Philippines has sought for an observer status in the committee on government procurement of the World Trade Organization.

Ambassador Manuel A. J. Teehankee, Philippine Permanent Representative to the WTO, delivered to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo on 6 May the request of the Philippine government to become an observer in the Committee on Government Procurement.

The Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) is a plurilateral agreement within the WTO's legal framework which provides rules and guidance on the conduct of international trade in the area of government procurement among its 20 signatories (comprising 48 WTO members). Any WTO member or observer interested in the Agreement can request observer status in the Committee on Government Procurement. Currently, 32 WTO members and observers hold this status.

The Philippines' request for observer status will be considered by the Committee on Government Procurement at its next formal meeting, scheduled for June 26, 2019. If its request is approved, the Philippines will be able to participate in relevant Committee discussions, gain access to the Committee's working documents, and become acquainted with the operation and administration of the Agreement.

Observer status is distinct from becoming a legal party to the Agreement, a different status that entails a separate accession process.

Teehankee said that through its participation as an observer in the Committee, the Philippines looks to gain a better understanding of the GPA and further promote the efficient and effective management of public resources and good governance in the Philippines’ national procurement systems. (BCM)